Former Australia batsman Ed Cowan: 'We are a very racist nation'

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Ed Cowan
Ed Cowan

Former Australia batsman Ed Cowan says his country needs to admit that there is an underlying national problem with racism.

Cowan, who played the last of his 18 Tests for the Aussies in 2013, was speaking in the wake of allegations that India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj was racially abused by some members in the crowd in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

The 26-year-old Siraj, who was only playing in his second Test in Sydney, has been interviewed by Cricket Australia over the multiple instances of abuse he faced from the stands, including at least one alleged cry of "brown dog".

Cowan believes his country has still not accepted that it has a problem with racism and also said that the only change at the SCG was that players could hear individual taunts from the stands because the ground was only at 25 percent capacity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to ABC Grandstand, Cowan said: "We have an issue with Australia full stop, we are a very racist nation.

"We can hold the mirror up and pretend we are not. But all you need to do is go to an AFL game, all you need to do is watch the Adam Goodes documentary, all you need to do is walk down the street.

"Casual or otherwise, racism is a massive issue in Australian society and we need to fix it. That is my view, and this is not bound to cricket or sport, it is merely a reflection of the society we live in, and it's not good enough.

"The big thing other people haven't spoken about is this happens every game. This is not an outlier."

The now 38-year-old Cowan also lauded Siraj for coming forward and bringing the abuse to the attention of his teammates and the officials on the field.

The game was subsequently stopped on the fourth day and members of the crowd were removed from the stands by police.

"We need to make an effort at the grounds, irrespective of whether the players hear it or not, whether you have a crowd control person on every single aisle and they are monitoring," added Cowan.

"But if we are serious about stamping out racism in this country, it is a zero-tolerance and we need to get serious about that.

"The real hero on this is the young Indian Siraj, for calling it out, for having the courage to say 'you know what, this is only my second Test match, I know what I heard', he's called it out and there should be every single inch of investigation, and that is the example that it's set, that it's not on, and we need to start calling it out."

- TEAMtalk media

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